I love barley; it brings back childhood memories of mum's Sunday night soups. And as barley swells so much when it is cooked, it must have been a boon to a busy mum trying to feed 4 hungry children.
I was a bit worried that this soup would not be very flavourful as it has so few ingredients but it was in fact delicious. You need to use a really good stock (plus I threw in a couple of sneaky ingredients).
1.9L of good quality stock - I used chicken but use your fave
225g. pearl barley
2 tbs olive oil
2 brown onions, shredded or finely chopped
30g. sultanas or raisins
2 pinches dried thyme leaves
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
pepper to taste
Pour the cold stock into a large saucepan
Add the barley and give it a stir
Bring to the boil then let it gently boil away till it has reduced to about half the original liquid - this will take from 45 mins. to 1 hour
Meanwhile, fry the onions in the olive oil and butter till translucent
Add the mushrooms to the onions and sauté them till lightly cooked
Now tip the veg. into the barley soup and stir them in
Don't forget to add the sultanas
Throw in the thyme and chilli
Season with pepper (salt probably won't be necessary)
Add a dash of cream (optional)
Notes: I used some of the leftover stock I had from making the capon with oranges so it was a very tasty base for this soup
|tipping the barley into the cold stock|
|frying the onions|
|caramelising the onions and sautéing the mushies|
Well actually, I had a bit of an accident with the mushies. I was trying to research if the Georgians would have used butter or oil for frying and forgot to check them - and yes they were burning! So I thought what the heck, I'll just keep on sautéing:=) Don't worry, I changed the frypan 'cos onion was stuck like a wad of chewing gum to the pan.
|in go the sultanas|
|add the herbs and seasoning at the end|
|looks aren't everything! (including my manky nighttime snap)|
Not the best looking soup around, but it tasted great. The original soup doesn't have chilli or mushrooms or thyme. And oddly it says to just throw the shredded onion in at the end; no mention of cooking it at all. It mentions a handful of raisins going in (I prefer sultanas); my handful was 30g. but if you had a big blokey hand, who knows? And yes it ended up quite thick like a porridge. Add more stock at the end if you wish.
New and Easy Method of Cookery, Elizabeth Cleland, 1755
Boil a hough of beef in eight pints of water, and a pound of barley, on a slow fire; let it boil to four pints; then put in onions, pepper, salt, and raisins if you like them, or you may put in greens and leeks.
|my brown onion doodle|